Pfizer, Alnylam and BMS take note: The US is poised to see 'a staggering number' of cardiomyopathy cases this decade

There’s a new blockbuster heart disease market in town—and it's set to explode in size. As Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb and Alnylam are already fighting for their share of prescriptions, a new report finds they'll have millions more patients to treat in the coming years.

That disease is cardiomyopathy, an umbrella term covering a series of problems with the heart muscle, where the walls of the heart chambers have become stretched, thickened or stiff.

Analysts at GlobalData crunched the numbers and found that by 2031, cases of cardiomyopathy will balloon to 7 million around the world, but most of the growth will come from the U.S. Some 2.3 million cases are expected in the States by that date.

Why so much growth in the U.S.? Risk factors for the disease range from family history to diabetes, alcohol consumption, obesity and high blood pressure. The U.S. has relatively high rates of drinking and obesity, and low exercise levels, Global Data said.

“Even if we compensate for the differences in population size, the U.S. is still miles ahead when it comes to total cardiomyopathy cases,” explained Walter Gabriel, an epidemiologist at GlobalData.

“In a way, this is no surprise. The number of type 2 diabetes cases in the U.S. is expected to annually rise by 1.8% to over 20.8 million cases by 2028, while high blood pressure is also expected to annually rise by 0.95%, from to over 65 million diagnosed cases in 2027. These are key risk factors for cardiomyopathy,” Gabriel said.

The main forms of cardiomyopathy are dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARCM), and transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM).

Though bad news for the health of the nation, that growth in cardiomyopathy is a bullish report for three pharmas: Pfizer, BMS and Alnylam, which have scored fresh FDA approvals and trial wins that are tackling some of these forms of cardiomyopathy.

Pfizer won an FDA approval in 2019 for Vyndaqel in ATTR-CM and made just over $2 billion in sales in 2021, while in April this year, the FDA granted Bristol Myers Squibb’s Camzyos a green light to treat symptomatic obstructive HCM, which could see peak sales of $4 billion.

Alnylam, meanwhile, has a rare drug approved in Amvuttra for certain nerve and organ damage; it's also in trials to treat ATTR cardiomyopathy. Evaluate Vantage recently said the drug could reach $1.8 billion in global sales by 2026 should it also nab that approval.

For all these drugs, the key issue will be boosting diagnosis of a condition largely deemed to be going under the radar and now looks as if they could have an even bigger U.S. market than they first thought.

Bristol Myers is already running several campaigns aimed at boosting the diagnosis rate. This includes a patient-based, unbranded education campaign, called “Could It Be HCM?”, which highlights possible signs and symptoms and encourages people to ask their doctors if they should see a cardiologist.

It also recently partnered with NBA player Jared Butler, who just finished his first season with the Utah Jazz. Butler, who was diagnosed with HCM while in college, will share his—and his family’s—experience with the condition.